Experts Discuss On Silk Route: Enhancing Nepal-China Connectivity

Experts Discuss On Silk Route: Enhancing Nepal-China Connectivity

March 25, 2015, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. : 08 No.- 18 March. 20 - 2015 (chaitra 6, 2071)

To celebrate the 60th year of the establishment of Diplomatic Relation between Nepal and China, Institute of Foreign Affairs (IFA) is organized a Talk Program on “Silk Route: Enhancing Nepal-China Connectivity”

Experts and senior government officials have said that the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative taken by China provides Nepal with a multiple prospects.

Addressing a talk program--Silk Route: Enhancing Nepal-China Connectivity--organized by Institute of Foreign Affairs (IFA) in Kathmandu on Monday on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Nepal-China diplomatic relations, they also lauded the government's decision to actively support the Initiative launched by China.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said that enhanced transportation network that the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative offers will help Nepal to exploit our potentials on trade, investment and tourism, which have a transformative power to bring positive changes to Nepalese economies. "Our cooperation on Silk Route can help us generate the momentum. The need is to stick to our basics and start from there," he said.

Pandey said since there is an inter-link between economic well-being and sustainable peace, the Silk Route initiative will give Nepal a much-needed boost to leapfrog towards economic prosperity. "We believe this will further enhance Nepal-China relations and enrich connectivity for the good of common people," the minister further said.

During a recent visit of Foreign Minister Pandey to China, Nepal and China made an agreement in principle to develop the infrastructures of the Economic Belt by using the $40 billion fund set up by China. The Silk Road Fund Co Ltd was established in December last year in Beijing, after President Xi Jinping announced the creation of the fund in November.

China has been urging neighboring countries to be part of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 20th Century Maritime Silk Route proposal forwarded by Chinese President Xi Jinping. During the meeting, China had proposed to prepare joint project on infrastructure development of Nepal-China Silk Road Economic Belt. This includes development of rail network from Tibet to Kathmandu to Patna, India.

Pandey argued that expansion of Silk Route could benefit not just Nepal but entire South Asia in economic, social and cultural fronts. "The issue of infrastructure development under this initiative also surfaced during my visit to China last week," he said while recalling Nepal's decision to sign a four-point document endorsing the initiative in December 2014 in Beijing.

Addressing the program, Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal argued that there is a need to expedite the concept of Silk Route in order to seize the opportunities China's economic prosperity provides to Nepal. He expressed the confidence that Silk Road will also help Nepal to expand capital and technology and contribute to address poverty, backwardness and conflict persisting in Nepal and the South Asia as a whole.

Presenting a paper at the talk program, Former Foreign Secretary Madhu Raman Acharya said the availability of connectivity to the Silk Road initiative can provide Nepal with unique economic opportunities. "For Nepal, the Silk Road initiative can provide new avenues to establish connecting links with the otherwise neglected contact with the Central Asian republics, through the diversification of trade and increased foreign direct investment and tourist arrivals," he said.

Former finance minister Madhukar SJB Rana, National Planning Commission (NPC) member Swarnim Wagle and Joint Secretary at the MoFA Jhabindra Aryal had commented on the paper.

They also highlighted the benefits Nepal could get after becoming a part of the China's Silk Route initiatives.

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